We were pleased to announce the Department of Chemistry student award winners for the 2017-2018 academic year at the Orientation BBQ. For those who may have missed it, here are the award winners.
Sugata Ray Memorial Award for International Students: Nathchar Naowarojna (Liu Lab)
This award was established by the Ray family in memory of their son, Sugata Ray, a former graduate student in the Chemistry Department, to recognize an international Ph.D. candidate each year who excels in his or her graduate studies. Research, academic performance, teaching, and service contributions to the Department are all considered in selection of the awardee.
Professor Liu writes, “Can has demonstrated her potential to thrive in the academic environment and greatly contribute to the field of natural product biosynthesis and enzymology. Her skills and knowledge in research, and dedication to mentorship make her an exceptionally qualified nominee.” She has authored or contributed to an impressive number of publications, and demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to undergraduate mentoring through her teaching assignments and undergraduate research supervising.
Lichtin Award for Research: David Stelter (Keyes)
This award was established in honor of Norman Lichtin, a distinguished research scientist and former Chair of the Chemistry Department. The award recognizes students that are distinguished by their exceptional contributions to chemical research in their doctoral studies.
Professor Keyes writes, “David is a wonderful student, one of my best ever. Despite having to teach almost full time he has achieved significant research results, and never lost his enthusiasm, while also being a joy to have as a TF.” David is first author on two papers, contributed to two more, and has a large body of results to write up and exciting work in progress.
Feldman Award: Lindsey Walker (Elliott Lab)
The Feldman Fund was established by the Feldman family to memorialize Julius Feldman, who served for many years as Associate Chairman of the Chemistry Department and who took a special interest in the welfare of graduate students. The Feldman Award recognizes outstanding accomplishments in research, teaching or service.
Lindsey is a fifth year student in the Elliott Lab who has not only made significant and impressive research contributions but is a great communicator of science, and stands out as an excellent leader.
Professor Elliott writes, “Lindsey is a sharp, devoted, creative and highly driven student, who is well on her way to being a successful scientific leader. She is a talented researcher who is motivated by a concern for the environment, and a desire to use electrochemistry as a functional tool to improve society. She is a wonderful student, and I am very lucky to have her in my lab.”
Departmental Award for Outstanding Graduate Student Research: Lauren Viarengo (Whitty Lab)
Professor Whitty writes, “Lauren has a strong intellect and is exceptionally diligent and conscientious in everything she does. Lauren is also highly sought after as a Teaching Fellow, being very conscientious and having excellent interpersonal and communication skills. But what really sets her apart is her fearlessness in taking on new research challenges, and her exceptional drive. I believe she serves as an example of everything we look for in our very best graduate students, and is an ideal candidate for a graduate student award to recognize her extraordinary capabilities and efforts.”
Congratulations to all of our award winners!
As they finished out the sixth and final week of the 2018 GROW (Greater Boston Research Opportunities for Young Women) program, the 12 summer interns present their capstone to the six weeks of research conducted during a Poster Session held on Friday, August 10th in the Science Metcalf Building Lounge located on the first floor from 2:00 – 4:00 PM.
LERNet was created in 1998 to provide programming for K-12 students interested in pursuing the STEM fields and to encourage teacher development. In recent years, Brossman says, she has become more focused on young women, because they face a gender imbalance in STEM fields. The GROW program came into being this year after Deborah Perlstein, a CAS assistant professor of chemistry, came to Brossman looking for ways to broaden the impact of a research project so that it would satisfy a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant requirement. After her project was funded for one student, they decided to go further.
“For young women interested in careers in math and science, it’s really important for them to have an opportunity to get in lab and see what that’s like,” says Perlstein. “It’s also important for them to have the opportunity to see some (female) role models. That was important to me in choosing my career path.
”Brossman and Perlstein put together a program with funding from sources including Vertex, Pfizer, and other companies; LERNet; the chemistry and biology departments; CAS; BU’s ARROWS (Advance, Recruit, Retain & Organize Women in STEM); and existing NSF grants, all adding up to about $30,000. Despite a late posting of the application, in April, some 60 rising juniors and seniors from Greater Boston high schools applied. A dozen students were placed in BU chemistry and biology labs and assigned research projects and graduate student or post-doc mentors.
“I wanted to create an accessible program for local students who may not be able to afford some of the existing programs or who needed to work during the summer,” Brossman says. “We wanted to give the students a stipend so we could eliminate any financial barriers to participation.”
Here are some photos from this years Poster Session:
We are proud to announce that Professor Malika Jeffries-EL has been named one of the 2018 ACS Fellows. The purpose of the ACS Fellows Program is to recognize and honor members of the American Chemical Society for their outstanding achievements in and contributions to the science and the profession and for their equally exemplary service to the Society. The ACS Fellows Program uniquely recognizes a different standard of achievement and service. Specifically, the Fellow of the American Chemical Society (ACSF) designation is awarded to a member who, in some capacity, has made exceptional contributions to the science or profession and has provided excellent volunteer service to the ACS community.
Dr. Malika Jeffries-EL and her research group focuses her research interests on the development of organic semiconductors–materials that combine the processing properties of polymers with the electronic properties of semiconductors. Prior to joining the Department of Chemistry in 2016 she was as Associate Professor at Iowa State University, most recently serving as a Martin Luther King Jr. Visiting Professor at MIT. She has been honored twice previously by the ACS with an ACS Women Chemist Committee Rising Star award in 2012 and a Stanley C. Israel Regional Award for Advancing Diversity in the Chemical Sciences in 2015.
Dr. Jeffries-EL has consistently been an active member of ACS having served on the editorial advisory boards for Macromolecules and Chemical and Engineering News. She has served in several activities within the American Chemical Society including the advisory board for the Women Chemist of Color Program, executive member of the Division of Organic Chemistry, Program co-chair for the Polymer division, member of the Society Committee on Education and councilor for the Ames local section. She is currently an Associate Editor for the Journal of Materials Chemistry C, a publication of the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Professor Malika Jeffries-EL will be celebrated as an ACS Fellow during the 256th National ACS Meeting and Exposition’s induction ceremony on Monday, August 20, 2018, at the Sheraton Boston Hotel, Grand Ballroom, from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Dr. Morton Z. Hoffman is the 2018 recipient of The Zaida C. Morales Martinez Prize for Outstanding Mentoring of ACS Scholars
Dr. Morton Z. Hoffman, Professor Emeritus in the Chemistry Department of Boston University, is this years recipient of The Zaida C. Morales Martinez Prize for Outstanding Mentoring of ACS Scholars. This prize was initiated by Dr. Robert L. Lichter and his wife Diane Scott Lichter with a grant from the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation. The annual $1,000 prize recognizes individuals who have done an exemplary job in mentoring students in the ACS Scholars Program. It is named in honor of Ms. Morales-Martinez, the mentoring consultant for the ACS Scholars Program, who was instrumental in the establishment of the Scholars Program and other initiatives to address the need to increase the presence and participation of underrepresented minorities in chemical science.
A native of New York City, Mort Hoffman attended Hunter College and received a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Michigan. He spent a year as a postdoctoral research associate at Sheffield University in England before joining the chemistry faculty of Boston University in 1961. His research focused on the photophysics and photochemistry of transition-metal coordination compounds, with an emphasis on the fast kinetics of excited-state electron-transfer and ligand-labilization processes. Supported over the years by NIH, NSF, DOE and DOD, his research expanded to the conversion and storage of solar energy and the use of nanosecond pulsed-laser techniques to probe excited-state behavior. He also collaborated with faculty, senior scholars, and scientists from Italy, France, Germany, Greece, England, Israel, and Japan. He has authored over 200 articles and book chapters, of which undergraduates serve as coauthors on 23 and graduate students on 37.
Over the course of Dr. Hoffman’s career, 40 students have worked with him as a mentor and coach, and 20 ACS Scholars developed mentoring relationships with him. Many of these students have transitioned into industry, health care, law, and education careers since then. Dr. Hoffman taught a number of undergraduate and graduate courses, including general, physical and analytical chemistry, chemical kinetics, photochemistry, and radiation chemistry. Remembered by tens of thousands of students for his theatrical lecturing style, dramatic chemical demonstrations, innovative pedagogies, and outrageous jokes and puns, he was honored in 1994 with the Metcalf Cup and Prize for Excellence in Teaching from Boston University, the Catalyst Award for Teaching Excellence from the American Chemistry Council in 2002, the John A. Timm Award for Encouraging Young People to Study Chemistry from the New England Association of Chemistry Teachers (NEACT) in 2003, and the James Flack Norris Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Teaching of Chemistry from the Northeastern Section of the ACS (NESACS) in 2005. He received the ACS Volunteer Service Award in 2007 and the Distinguished Contribution to Chemistry Education Award from IUPAC in 2014. He was named a Fellow of AAAS in 1992, a Fellow of ACS in 2009, and a Fellow of IUPAC in 2014.
Since his retirement in 2005, he has continued work with B.U. International Programs in the development and maintenance of science study-abroad programs in Dresden (Germany), Grenoble (France), and Madrid (Spain).
Dr. Hoffman has been very active at the local, regional, and national levels of ACS. He served as Chair of NESACS in 2002, Chair of CHED in 2005, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Northeast Region, Inc. He represents NESACS on ACS Council, was a member of SOCED and the Senior Chemists Committee, and is currently on the International Activities Committee. Internationally, he was appointed by the National Academy of Sciences to serve as the U.S. National Representative to the Committee on Chemistry Education of IUPAC. He has served as Treasurer of the Malta Conferences Foundation since its incorporation in 2011 as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
For information on contributing to this award or to become a mentor in the ACS Scholars Program, call 202-872-6250 or 1-800-227-5558, ext. 6250, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Professor Rosina Georgiadis and Master Lecturer Binyomin Abrams co-chaired a full day symposium entitled “Teaching Transferable Skills in the Chemistry Laboratory Curriculum: Real Research, Real Training” on August 1, 2018 at the 25th Biennial Conference on Chemical Education (BCCE2018), hosted by the University of Notre Dame.
The morning session showcased the work of two former BU Chemistry Postdoctoral Faculty Fellows (PFFs) now known as Postdoctoral Associates/Lecturers (PAL’s) John Miecznikowski (Fairfield University) and Matthew Worden (UT Austin). Also speaking in the morning was our Biochemistry Lecturer Dr. Didem Vardar-Ulu, who was recently awarded a Blended Learning Challenge Fellowship. Dr. Vardar-Ulu spoke on ”Ensuring a successful transition from being a chemistry student to a professional chemist: Redesigning an introductory biochemistry laboratory curriculum for chemistry majors with a guided focus on transferable skills.” Professor Rosina Georgiadis, who was most recently awarded a BU Faculty Fellowship in 2016, and current PFF Kristina Streu ended the morning session with back-to-back talks on new cloud-enabled training for teaching analytical instrumental laboratory skills. Their talks were entitled: “Virtual machines: A new way to teach transferable skills in the advanced undergraduate laboratory” and “Teaching instrumentation with virtual machines: Case study and demonstration.”
The afternoon session showcased the Chemistry department’s CH111/CH112 writing program in a talk by Dr. Abrams entitled “Stop writing/teaching lab reports: integrating authentic research-based writing into quantitative analysis courses”. Dr. Abrams also presented a paper in the symposium titled “How Do We Know That?” and Dr. Vardar-Ulu gave a talk “Can blended instruction provide a customized biochemistry teaching laboratory experience?” in a symposium focused on biochemistry laboratory instruction.
Professor Karen Allen‘s work with Dr. Barbara Imperiali of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and their research groups work on the 2.7-Å-resolution crystal structure of a phosphoglycosyl transferase called PglC were featured in C&EN Structural Biology on May 23rd, 2018.
As Co-PI on a National Institute of Health grant, Dr. Allen and Dr. Imperiali’s work on PglC has allowed them to uncover the enzyme’s unique mechanism, which permits hydrophilic and hydrophobic molecules to interact without ever having to leave their natural environments.
On September 22, 2017, the Division of Materials Science & Engineering hosted the first Schlumberger Annual Materials Science Lecture. The featured speaker, Dr. Hongjie Dai, Stanford University, presented a lecture on Carbon Based Nanosciences.
Dr. Hongjie Dai has made fundamental contributions to nanosciences especially to novel carbon-based nanomaterials. Dr. Dai developed widely adopted chemical vapor deposition for carbon nanotubes; invented the first electrical nanosensors using nanotube transistors; pushed nanotube transistors to the ballistic limit; pioneered nano-carbon biological applications for novel imaging and therapy; and invented new electrocatalysts and the aluminum-ion battery.
Professor David Bishop, Head of the Division of Materials Science & Engineering gave a brief welcome to everyone.
Professor Lawrence Ziegler, organizer and faculty host of the lecture, and Associate Head of the Division of Materials Science & Engineering and Chair of the Chemistry Department introduced the speakers.
Dr. Meng Qu, Senior Research Scientist at Schlumberger-Doll Research gave an introductory talk on how her team develops materials for oil and gas applications such as plug and abandonment (P&A) and drill bit. She discussed how her team focuses on understanding the fundamental science of each material, and applies this knowledge to guide material design and development.
Dr. Hongjie Dai, Professor at Stanford University, first briefly reviewed his earlier work on carbon nanomaterials including carbon nanotubes and graphene nanoribbons, and fluorescence and fluorescence imaging in the previously unexplored 1000-1700 nmNIR-II window to benefit from greatly suppressed photon scattering at long wavelengths.
The second part of the talk focused on Dr. Dai’s work on advancing new types of electrocatalysts for renewable catalyst applications and the development of novel batteries. He talked about achieving record setting performance of electrocatalysts for water splitting including HER and OER. He showed how his lab has developed a novel Ni/NiO heterostructured hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) catalyst and a NiFe layered double hydroxide (NiFe LDH) oxygen evolution reaction (OER) catalyst to enable water splitting using a record low voltage of < 1.5 volt, making it possible to make an electrolyzer for hydrogen and oxygen gas generation running on a single AAA alkaline battery cell.
The talk was followed by a wine & cheese reception in the Photonics 9th floor atrium.
Read more about Dr. Dai’s research here.
On Friday, May 4th, 2018 the work of 22 students was spotlighted in this year’s Undergraduate Research Symposium (URS). The high-caliber projects presented underscored the importance of the hands-on, challenging research that is the hallmark of Boston University’s Chemistry major. The even was organized by the Undergraduate Programs Committee, Professor John Snyder and coordinated by our Undergraduate Program Coordinator, Julia Jesielowski.
URS was first instituted in 1987 by then Director of Undergraduate Studies, and now Emeritus, Prof. Mort Hoffman, and has been a much anticipated, spring’s-end annual event ever since. The Symposium is modeled along the lines of talks at an American Chemical Society (ACS) meeting: 12 minutes of presentation followed by 3 minutes of questions and discussion. Capping the day was the announcement of the Departmental Awards, followed by a celebratory pizza party for the students, their faculty advisers, graduate mentors, and their guests.
Masha Kamenetska, who holds joint academic appointments of Assistant Professor in Chemistry and Physics and is a member of Boston University’s Materials Science & Engineering Division, was recently awarded the Patricia Mclellan Leavitt Research Fund. This award is designed “to support research of one or more non-tenured junior faculty members, or graduate students, in chemistry or biology at the College of Arts and Sciences. Preference shall be given to female faculty who demonstrate a commitment to encouraging women to study science, or to female graduate students.”
Dr. Kamenetska will use these funds to support her research on the mechanism of gene regulation by nucleosomes. Nucleosomes are the basic unit of chromatin which package DNA inside the nucleus by winding 147 base-pairs around a core of eight histone proteins. They also regulate gene expression by impeding access to the genetic code by transcription machinery. Using single molecule nanomanipulation and spectroscopy techniques, Dr. Kamenetska can probe molecular level structure of biological complexes such as nucleosomes to understand their function. With this award Dr. Kamenetska plans to fund graduate and undergraduate students to develop an optical tweezer instrument which measures force-dependent unwinding of individual nucleosome particles while tracking their position along the DNA. In addition to supporting her lab at this critical early point in her career, this award will also benefit the undergraduate women who will work on this projects during the summer and fall.
Her unique research focus at the nexus of biology, chemistry and physics, and her commitment to encouraging women to participate in science, make her an ideal recipient for this junior faculty award. Congratulations Dr. Kamenetska!
On April 30th, 2018 Dr. Eric Jacobsen, Sheldon Emery Professor of Chemistry at Harvard University, presented The 2018 Lambert Lecture, speaking on New Modes of Anion-Binding Catalysis.
His work is focused on low molecular weight, chiral organic molecules possessing distinct hydrogen-bond donor motifs, which have been shown to catalyze an array of C–C and C–heteroatom bond-forming reactions with high enantioselectivity and broad substrate scope. In particular, dual hydrogen bond donors such as ureas, thioureas, squaramides, and guanidinium ions have been studied in detail in the context of electrophile activation. These catalysts operate by either of two, fundamentally different modes of electrophile activation: 1) direct hydrogen bonding to a neutral electrophile, and 2) anion binding to generate chiral ion pair. We have applied the latter reactivity concept to several classes of cationic electrophiles that have presented long-standing challenges to asymmetric catalysis.
In this lecture, Professor Jacobsen described his detailed kinetic and mechanistic studies of catalytic anion-abstraction processes. He discussed how these investigations have revealed unexpected cooperative mechanisms, and new strategies for the design of highly efficient catalysts for a wide range of nucleophilic substitution reactions including enantioselective SN1 pathways and stereospecific glycosylation reactions.
The Lambert Lecture is supported by an endowment established by alumnus Benjamin Lambert, who earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Boston University (CAS ’55). After graduating from law school, he went on to pursue a distinguished career as a patent attorney with such major pharmaceutical companies as Merck and Johnson & Johnson. Each year, the Lambert Lecture addresses different topics in chemistry, the field of Lambert’s undergraduate and graduate studies, and features some of the most distinguished and creative scientists working in the field today.